Women's News from the Web

Syndicate content The Guardian
Latest Women news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 10 hours 1 min ago

Women killed in Spain as coronavirus lockdown sees rise in domestic violence

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 03:41

A steep drop in police reports indicates isolation may be making it harder to get help

It was 2.30am when Daniel Jiménez was woken by his neighbour’s screams. When he went outside his home in the Los Pajarillos neighbourhood of Valladolid in north-west Spain, he saw a woman hanging from a third-storey window. Another neighbour rushed out with mattresses to help break her fall but he was too late. She fell to her death.

Although the investigation into the 56-year-old woman has proved inconclusive, the interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, initially declared it a crime of gender violence.

Continue reading...

The Observer view on the domestic abuse bill failing women trapped in lockdown | Observer editorial

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 19:00

Women in life-threatening situations are being let down at a time when they’re most in need of help

Social distancing is saving lives every day. But the physical and psychological toll of the lockdown is not spread evenly among us. Care home residents, prisoners and children in the care of the state are just some of those whose health and wellbeing have been disproportionately endangered for the common good. And the enforced social isolation of a lockdown is a particularly terrifying prospect for victims of domestic abuse and their offspring.

Abusers so often rely on isolating their victims from friends, family and colleagues in order to prolong and worsen the impact of their abuse. The lockdown has aided and abetted them in their mission to terrorise. Around 6% of adults report having experienced domestic abuse in the last year, the overwhelming majority of them women; two women a week are killed by a current or former partner. Since social distancing restrictions came into force last month, there are alarming signs that domestic abuse has surged; the National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls, and the Metropolitan police have reported a 24% increase in charges and cautions for domestic abuse. The pandemic also makes it more difficult for women to access help: not just because they may be constantly monitored at home, but because three quarters of domestic abuse services have reported having to reduce their services, because of staff self-isolating and social distancing requirements.

Continue reading...

The suspension of fertility treatment is a tragedy for many couples | Barbara Ellen

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 06:30

It’s time we dispelled the myths about IVF being a lifestyle choice for career women

Don’t we owe it to those desperate for IVF treatment not to fall for the persistent spoilt/demanding female infertility narrative? Along with myriad NHS procedures, fertility treatment has been deemed “non-essential” during the pandemic. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority announced that it was suspended until further notice – affecting not just new patients but those in the middle of treatment.

Related: Coronavirus has slashed my chances of IVF treatment | Anonymous

Continue reading...

Author of book about victim blaming bombarded with misogynist abuse

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 04:41

Dr Jessica Taylor has been speaking about her book Why Women are Blamed for Everything, but has received thousands of abusive messages and seen her computer hacked

A British academic whose new book is about why women are blamed for crimes committed against them has been subjected to thousands of coordinated attacks from alt-right trolls over the last week, culminating in her personal computer being hacked.

Dr Jessica Taylor, a senior lecturer in forensic and criminal psychology, is due to publish her exploration of victim blaming, Why Women are Blamed for Everything, on 27 April. Looking into what causes society to blame women who have been abused, raped, trafficked, assaulted or harassed by men, the book has drawn increasing publicity, including an appearance on Woman’s Hour.

Continue reading...

Sexism on the Covid-19 frontline: 'PPE is made for a 6ft 3in rugby player'

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 02:47

Health professionals, experts and unions say poorly fitting equipment is risking lives of female workers

Some talk of abrasions on their faces caused by having to pull masks too tight, others about having to roll up the sleeves of their fluid-repellent gowns. Some have been left barely able to see, while others have used micropore tape to seal gaps around their jawline. The thing they all have in common? They are trying to save lives – and they are women.

NHS professional bodies, experts and trade unions have warned that female healthcare workers’ lives are being put at risk because personal protective equipment is designed for men. As one frontline NHS worker put it: “PPE is designed for a 6 foot 3 inch bloke built like a rugby player.”

Continue reading...

Stop this retro nonsense about lockdown being a return to domestic bliss for women | Eleanor Margolis

Thu, 04/23/2020 - 01:35

The resurgence of the ‘can women have it all?’ rhetoric during the coronavirus crisis is tiresome as many women struggle to keep going

Yesterday I cleaned the toilet, made myself an exquisite toast lunch, and wrote this article. Sure, I don’t have any kids. But I do have a demanding cat and – believe you me – on top of the career, housekeeping and culinary excellence, his needs were met. “What’s it like to be the woman who has it all?” I hear you ask. Spectacular. Eye-opening. Humbling.

In reality, my life has changed relatively little since the lockdown. And that, specifically, is why I’m lucky. I’ve worked from home for several years and yes, of course, looking after an animal that spends 90% of his time either asleep or outside is about as fair a comparison to having a child (or multiple children) as the western world in the time of Covid-19 is to the Handmaid’s Tale. Which is not to say that women’s lives and careers aren’t being stunted by this pandemic in which we find ourselves (while the actual virus is proving more deadly to men).

Continue reading...

'Every abuser is more volatile': the truth behind the shocking rise of domestic violence killings

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 23:00

In the UK, the number of domestic killings has doubled during lockdown and frontline services report record-breaking cries for help. Here’s why the violence has increased – and what you can do to help victims

Alison Young lived in lockdown long before Covid-19. For most of her eight-year marriage, her controlling husband only allowed her to leave the house for “authorised trips”. “That was invariably food shopping and, when I got back, he always checked the receipts, the mileage and searched the car for crumbs in case I’d eaten when I was out, which I wasn’t allowed to do,” she says.

“If you bent the rules or argued back, you didn’t know how he’d react. Sometimes, he’d let me laugh it off, other times, he’d have a knife at my throat – so the fear never left. It was either just under the surface or spilling out of every pore.”

Continue reading...

Your starter for 10: where are all the women on University Challenge?

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 01:45

This year’s final featured eight men in the teams – perhaps it’s time for the quiz to give gender quotas a try

Judging by the gender balance, you could be forgiven for thinking that this year’s University Challenge grand final had taken place sometime in the 1970s. There wasn’t a single woman on screen for the entire 30 minutes.

This is not to detract from the achievement of the winners. The triumph of Imperial college in this week’s final was pleasing – it’s always pleasing to see an Oxbridge college brought down a peg or two – and the breadth of knowledge displayed was incredibly impressive. But we cannot be expected to believe that there wasn’t a single female student at Imperial or Corpus Christi who could have added to those teams.

Continue reading...

What Mrs America gets right and what it gets wrong about 70s feminism

Sat, 04/18/2020 - 06:05

Mrs America gives Phyllis Schlafly a depth in fiction that was lacking in history but Shirley Chisholm is refreshingly portrayed as more than just a martyr

The real hero of Mrs America, the new FX miniseries chronicling the early 1970s political battle over the Equal Rights Amendment, is Phyllis Schlafly. Schlafly, the conservative movement leader who led the antifeminist backlash against the amendment, styled herself a housewife and mother of six, but really she was an educated, driven and ambitious professional political operator, skilled in forging alliances among unlikely counterparts and manipulating the motivations of others toward her own ends.

In the miniseries, a slick, beautifully shot portrait of 1970s America, she is played by Cate Blanchett, who masterfully shows Schlafly finding an outlet for her own frustrated political ambitions in the anti-ERA fight, and rising from a minor conservative commentator on the lunatic fringe to the primary voice of social conservatism on the national stage. As the ERA is defeated – going from a bipartisan shoo-in that sailed through the Senate to an embattled, controversial document that meets resistance in every statehouse – the show encourages us to see the downfall of the major political effort of the second wave feminist movement as the result, paradoxically, of one woman’s phenomenal personal determination.

Continue reading...

As the lockdown bites, it's women who are taking the strain | Gaby Hinsliff

Thu, 04/16/2020 - 23:00

The economics of coronavirus and the logistics of home-working are playing into some old gender inequalities

Flicking through our slowly emptying family calendar, a relic of a more innocent age jumps out.

“Back to school”, it says in thick black pen, across the beginning of next week. Well, dream on. Across Europe schools are now tentatively beginning to reopen, at least in countries such as Denmark which locked down earlier than we did; German schools too are likely to start returning from early May. But in Britain, it might be half term before that can be considered.

Continue reading...

Polish parliament delays decision on new abortion restrictions

Thu, 04/16/2020 - 06:15

Proposal would ban terminations even on grounds of serious foetal abnormalities

Poland’s parliament has deferred a final decision on a bill that seeks to tighten the country’s already strict abortion legislation.

The bill would outlaw abortion on the grounds of serious foetal abnormalities, one of a small number of exceptions to a near-total ban on abortion currently in place in the country. It has been sent back to a parliamentary committee for further work.

Continue reading...

UK cases of domestic abuse by female family members double

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 02:40

Despite rise of ‘Cinderella’ abuse offences, men are predominant perpetrators

Cases of “Cinderella” abuse involving attacks by women and girls on family members have risen twice as fast as those by men, new figures show.

The figures from the Metropolitan police, who are investigating a rise in the number of domestic abuse offences committed by female family members, show that domestic abuse offences committed by sisters have doubled from 641 in 2010 to 1,325 in 2018. The numbers have quadrupled for stepsisters and half-sisters from 33 to 142.

Continue reading...

South Korea's first feminist party holds out hope of election miracle

Mon, 04/13/2020 - 19:43

Formation of the Women’s party comes after campaigns to end spy cam porn and rebellions against strict beauty standards in the conservative nation

Two years year after South Korea became the centre of Asia’s #MeToo movement, the country’s first feminist party is hoping to keep women’s issues on the political agenda by winning seats in Wednesday’s national assembly elections.

In a campaign dominated by the government’s response to the coronavirus epidemic, the newly formed Women’s party has warned that South Korea’s poor record on sexual discrimination and violence risked being overlooked.

Continue reading...

Working from home has a troubled history. Coronavirus is exposing its flaws again | Helen McCarthy

Sun, 04/12/2020 - 03:00

During the UK lockdown, home working has soared. But struggles with childcare, pay and conditions aren’t new

In the early 1970s, futurologists began to reimagine the relationship between home and workplace. A new wave of technological innovation seemed to be pushing together the private and public worlds that the Industrial Revolution had rent apart.

Networked computers installed in an employee’s home would revolutionise the modern corporation. Teleworking – as it became known – would free humanity from the grind of the daily commute, enabling an easier blend of work and family life.

Continue reading...

Thousands lose last hope of having a baby as lockdown closes IVF clinics

Sat, 04/11/2020 - 20:07

Women tell of ‘bereavement’ because they will be too old for fertility treatment when the coronavirus shutdown ends

Coronavirus – latest updates

See all our coronavirus coverage

Thousands of couples may have missed their last chance of conceiving via IVF as fertility clinics shut their doors to patients on Wednesday. Some women who are only just young enough to be eligible for treatment will be too old in a few months’ time.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates Britain’s fertility industry, has ordered private and NHS clinics to stop treating patients who are in the middle of an IVF cycle by 15 April. All new treatments have already been banned, a decision which is likely to prevent the births of at least 20,000 desperately wanted babies if it remains in place for 12 months.

Continue reading...

Where are women's voices in the coronavirus crisis? | Catherine Bennett

Sat, 04/11/2020 - 08:00

The key decisions about lockdown and containment are all being made by men

• Coronavirus latest updates

• See all our coronavirus coverage

That male drivers are much more dangerous to other road users than female ones is a proposition still considered extraordinary enough for an academic study confirming this widely observed phenomenon to have made headlines last week.

Discussing the difference, the authors note, in the journal Injury Prevention, the major gender imbalance in driving jobs and advise policymakers that “reduced risk to others could be a co-benefit from increasing gender equity”.

Continue reading...

Women look out for one another? Not always, as Monica Lewinsky knows

Sat, 04/11/2020 - 06:30

The recent death of Linda Tripp reminded us of a shocking act of betrayal

More than two decades on, there’s still something about what Linda Tripp did to Monica Lewinsky that makes you gasp at the female-on-female betrayal and also makes you wonder whether this is the most painful kind of betrayal.

Tripp has just died of cancer. When Lewinsky learned that Tripp was sick, she said: “No matter the past… I hope for her recovery. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for her family.” A graceful response and one in stark contrast to what Lewinsky said when the then US president Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about their affair: “I’m really sorry for everything that’s happened. And I hate Linda Tripp.”

Continue reading...

Four men jailed in first year since upskirting law was introduced

Fri, 04/10/2020 - 13:01

Work is still needed to raise awareness about the problem, campaigners say

Four men have been jailed in the year since the upskirting law was introduced in England and Wales, figures show.

Campaigners said the legislation offered a route to justice for victims, but said more work was needed to raise awareness about the seriousness of the issue.

Continue reading...

The more I stay at home, the more grubby it seems | Coco Khan

Fri, 04/10/2020 - 03:00

I want a life bigger than my mother’s, yet with her household standards of cleanliness

Recently, while practising yoga at home, I had a realisation. I’d like to say it was a spiritual awakening of some sort but unfortunately it was just that my floor was really quite dirty.

The more I stay home, the more grubby it seems; I notice how the wardrobes bulge and shoes languish. I balk at the use-by dates of tins forgotten on kitchen shelves, repulsed not only by their age but their texture (“Why are things in my kitchen sticky?” I shamefully type into Google). No matter how hard I scrub, I find only more flaws, and no sooner is it cleaned than it all needs doing again.

Continue reading...

Declare abortion a public health issue during pandemic, WHO urged

Thu, 04/09/2020 - 22:00

Charities press World Health Organization to ensure women can get contraception and safe abortions during crisis

  • Coronavirus – latest updates
  • See all our coronavirus coverage
  • The World Health Organization is being urged to declare abortion an essential health service during the coronavirus pandemic.

    In guidance notes issued last week, the WHO advised all governments to identify and prioritise the health services each believed essential, listing reproductive health services as an example.

    Continue reading...